Governor Rick Scott plans no proposals to change any Florida gun laws, a spokeswoman said Thursday, though he still wants to hear ideas for improving the safety of schools, reports David Royse of the News Service of Florida.
Scott had repeatedly declined to say whether he supported any changes to gun laws since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting last month.
But after Scott again refused to rule it out on Wednesday, leading the Tampa Bay Times to report that the governor “voiced his support for a broad review of Florida’s gun laws,” the governor’s office clarified on Thursday that he isn’t suggesting any gun law changes.
“Gov. Scott supports the second amendment,” a statement sent by Scott’s press secretary, Jackie Schutz, said. “He will listen to ideas about improving school safety during the legislative session, but he continues to support the second amendment and is not proposing any gun law changes.”
Scott said several times after the Connecticut shooting led to calls for changes in gun laws that he wasn’t really ready to talk about what the full response should be, saying there should be a period of being respectful for victims before talking about how to respond to the tragedy.
He did shortly after the shooting call for the state’s school systems to review their security procedures, and has said since that he wants the schools to be as safe as possible.
Legislators this week began discussing possible school safety and security changes, including whether there should be more funding for more armed police at Florida schools. The discussion so far at that level has focused on school safety measures, and not broader laws dealing with firearms, unlike at the national level, where the issue of gun laws has dominated the post-Newtown discussion.
President Obama has joined that discussion forcefully, proposing that criminal background checks be required before all gun sales and that a previous ban on assault weapons be re-instated. The White House also proposed a limit on the size of magazines, and a federal gun trafficking statute.
While the White House has also made proposals on mental health proposals and for additional police officers, the federal focus has been mostly on guns. Florida generally has less restrictive gun laws compared to many other states, and Democrats in Tallahassee have acknowledged since the Newtown shooting that the Republican-dominated Legislature is not likely to consider any measures to tighten controls on guns.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York earlier this week signed the first new gun legislation since the Newtown shooting into law, limiting the number of rounds in a magazine, and requiring mental health professionals to report to the state any patients they suspect may become violent, among other changes. A number of observers have said the new law in New York isn’t that dramatic, however, because the state already had some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation.